Food prices are determined by demand, food producers and governments. Should governments help us make healthy food choices by positively influencing the prices and availability of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables?

WHAT GOVERNMENTS CAN DO TO HELP US MAKE HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES

A leading medical journal published a flow-chart about what governments can do to support healthy food preferences and help stop obesity. Governments could tax unhealthy foods and subsidize healthy food providers, while food providers (such as supermarkets) could increase shelf space for healthy foods.

There are two measures that I especially like:

  • preventing display of unhealthy food where children gather. I see a lot of candy displayed in the low shelves of the supermarket aisles, and this bothers me because: fruits and vegetables are never placed low enough to tempt children, which is a shame!, and all these health-conscious parents have to go through tantrums when their kid wants a chocolate bar that they really can’t have! Placing unhealthy foods on a higher level would prevent so many supermarket tantrums and fruits and veggies could be placed there instead 🙂 (is any health-conscious supermarket making notes on this amazing advice I’m giving?)
  • giving incentive to healthy food retailers to sell in low income areas – and I don’t mean like a Whole Foods in South Park. But how great would it be to have a shop with fresh veggies and fruits at reasonable prices no matter where you live?! A couple of my friends used to live in bit of a dodgy neighborhood, but there was a fresh grocer around the corner, who always had the most beautifully looking vegetables and amazing fresh figs – amazing!

Get the Lancet pdf “How Governments can help us make healthy food choices”.

WHO GETS TO DECIDE WHICH FOODS ARE HEALTHY?

THE BIG QUESTIONS IS: which foods are healthy and which are unhealthy – and who gets to decide?

We would all agree that vegetables are healthy, but as far as fruits, fat, cooked or raw, meat or vegetarian – there is still a lot of debate. As far as science is concerned, eating multiple servings of vegetables per day and more than 2 pieces of fruit per day is exceptionally good for you , and a bit of meat is not bad.

Which measures do you think would work to help prevent obesity?

Cheerios, Ana

M.D. + Researcher on healthy eating & living